Years ago a hygienist at my dentist's office recommended that I use a dental rinse, like Plax, before brushing. I took her advice and began using it.
More recently, after a move and a new dentist, I was told that the stuff is basically useless. It does nothing, my dentist said. So I stopped.
A few weeks after that I was doing some shopping when I passed the toothpaste aisle. I saw the dental rinse I'd been using. Remembered what my new dentist had told me. Wavered. Grabbed a bottle and tossed it in my cart.
Because in my wavering there in the toothpaste aisle I realized that I liked using this stuff. I'd grown to enjoy the ritual—unscrewing the cap, taking a swig, swishing, spitting. I liked the zingy, minty taste in my mouth afterward. I didn't need it, but I wanted it. It costs about $3 a bottle—I get the generic version—and a bottle lasts about one month.
This simple pleasure, I figured, was worth 3 bucks a month.
My hope in sharing this story is that enough of you feel the same way about the work I've been producing here, on DumbRunner.com—that it leaves your brain feeling zingy and minty afterward, and that this is something worth a few bucks a month. Because if not, the website likely won't be around much longer.
Some background, especially for those of you who are newcomers:
When I launched Dumb Runner nine months ago, I had no clue how, or whether, it would ever make money. I just wanted to make people laugh. I wanted to keep the site ad-free, because ads are intrusive and annoying, and I had zero interest in the sort of ethically dubious shenanigans that other sites use to make a buck, which is why when I get offers like this one I say "no thanks"...
I don't want free "gear and cool stuff." I don't want to be a shill for Brand X. I definitely am not about to use Brand X's f***ing hashtags. I do, however, need to pay the bills.
This does not leave me many options.
What I do have is Patreon.com—a digital platform that exists "to help every creator in the world achieve sustainable income." It provides an easy way for fans to support a content provider with a monthly dollar amount of the fan's choosing. Essentially it lets you "subscribe" to an artist, musician, or writer, on your terms. (With rewards!)
In the five months I've been using Patreon, Dumb Runner has attracted more than 60 monthly "patrons." This is in addition to the handful of PayPal donations the site has received. (You can find me at PayPal with the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.) I am enormously grateful for all of this support. But the fact is that I am still losing money on this venture. It is not sustainable.
To keep going, I need your help.
I need your help to keep producing things like this free Dumb Runner wall calendar. (Which was not free to produce.) Or Ask Dumb Runner, where I answer every question I get, even if I don't wind up publishing them on the site. Or my motivational posters. Or any of the random, dumb articles that I churn out week after week.
Or my Dumb Dozen newsletter, which, believe it or not, requires about one full day of labor each week to produce.
I like to think I'm good at what I do. But I'm not good at asking people for money. I don't enjoy it, that's for sure. So I'll try to keep this sort of soliciting to a minimum, launching a three-day "pledge drive" like this one maybe two or three times a year.
So, you know, heads up.
To everyone who has supported Dumb Runner so far: Thank you, a thousand times over. I am so grateful for your help.
To those of you who read Dumb Runner (and enjoy it) but are not yet supporters: I hope you'll consider making a pledge, even a small one. My goal right now is to be here a year from today, still cranking this stuff out and making your brain zingy and minty.
With your help, I will be.
p.s. To everyone who shares Dumb Runner love via Twitter, Facebook, locker room banter, etc.: Thank you, too—that's hugely helpful. Please keep spreading the word!